Let's get to know some of the types of face masks that people often wear. In general, there are three types of face masks - fabric face mask, surgical mask and N95 face mask.
- Fabric masks refer to face masks made of cloth or any type of fabric. It was originally popularized by celebrities as a style and a trend amongst young people in particular. This type of mask is also an option during this outbreak as it is easy to use, comes in a variety of patterns and is easy to wash.
- Surgical masks are used by medical practitioners especially when performing surgeries and are intended to protect a person from dangerous fluids and large drops. However it is less effective in filtering small air particles.
- The N95 mask has its name because it has the potential to filter up to 95% of the particles and this type of mask is used by patients who have been confirmed positive for COVID-19
It is undeniable that the cloth or fabric face masks are less effective than the other face masks mentioned above in preventing this virus infection. However, the Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH) Director General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said his ministry would not prevent the public from wearing homemade masks. However, medical practitioners handling COVID-19 cases should wear special designated masks.
It should be acknowledged that fabric face masks have a high moisture content, are exposed to high pollution risk, can be penetrated by small particles and eventually become the medium for germs propagation. Therefore, detailed handling needs to be done if one wants to continue wearing this type of face mask.